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U.S. Public opinion polls on evolution & creationism

Beliefs in states throughout the U.S.
Beliefs in the UK.
Karl Giberson: evolution's status in 2013.

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This topic is continued from an earlier essay

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Beliefs by state across the U.S.:

The web site SubnormalNumbers.blogspot.ca 1 plotted evolution acceptance and rejection data that was collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia by Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscap Survey: 2

Beliefs by U.S. State

It is perhaps not surprising that, as of 2014-FEB:

  • 16 of the 17 states that show the highest acceptance of evolution also have extended marriage to same-sex couples (SSM). The exception is Alaska.

  • 21 of the 22 states that who the lowest acceptance of evolution also ban same-sex marriage. The exception is Iowa where SSM was legalized by a decision of the state Supreme Court. As of 2014-MAY, federal District Courts in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia have legalized SSM, but court stays prevent loving, committed same-sex couples from actually marrying there, at least for a while.

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Beliefs in the UK among clergy:

Belief in creation science seems to be largely a U.S. phenomenon, at least among countries the West. A British survey of 103 Roman Catholic priests, Anglican bishops and Protestant ministers/pastors, apparently conducted in 1999 showed that:

bullet97% do not believe the world was created in six days.

bullet 80% do not believe in the existence of Adam and Eve as actual persons. 3

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2014-JAN: Karl Giberson's review of the current status of evolution:

The title of his report is "2013 Was a Terrible Year for Evolution." He gives some indicators of the low status of belief in evolution:

  • 64% of white evangelicals still believe in creationism.

  • Professors at Christian colleges are attacked if people learn that they teach evolution.

  • Stephen C. Meyer's book: "Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design" was the most popular book sold on the topic of Paleontology for the year 2013. It was also one of the most popular on "Organic Evolution." Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store It teaches that what is called the "Cambrian explosion" in the diversity of species disproves Darwin's theory of evolution. As of 2014-FEB-04, 74 reviewers on Amazon.com who gave the book a 1 star rating out of 5 panned it for its lack of credibility.

  • The Texas Board of Education has delayed approval of a very popular biology textbook because of concern that it presents evolution as an accepted fact. It is titled "Biology" and was written by Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph S. Levine. 7 Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store Amazon reviewers gave the book 4.5 stars out of 5.

  • Gallup reported that support for creationism rose by 6 percentage points (40 to 46%) between 2010-DEC and 2012-MAY, while support for evolution dropped by 7 percentage points (54 to 47%) over the same interval. 8 Curiously, Gallup did not report the number of persons sampled in either year, and thus no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from their data. Still, Giberson writes:

    "The trajectory is not encouraging, especially as it runs in parallel with a steady increase in the evidence for evolution -- evidence now piled so high that not even one evolutionary biologist at any of America’s research universities rejects the theory. Evolution is as widely accepted in biology departments as gravity is in physics departments."

    Webmaster's full disclosure: Having recently suffered a fall which caused a broken rib, damage to a kidney, and mild concussion, I am a very strong believer in gravity.

Giberson, who taught science, including evolution, at an evangelical college for twenty-five years. He noted that about 50% of his students had rejected evolution at the start of his course. However, most of the 50% had accepted it by the end. He expected that students from the approximately 160 similar colleges in the U.S. would take a leadership role in their conservative Christian churches to change beliefs among fellow evangelicals. However, that seems to have not happened. He writes:

"But instead scientifically informed young evangelicals became so alienated from their home churches that they walked away, taking their enlightenment with them.

An alarming study by the Barna group 9,10,11 looked at the mass exodus of 20-somethings from evangelicalism and discovered that one of the major sources of discontent was the perception that 'Christianity was antagonistic to science.' Anti-evolution, and general suspicion of science, has become such a significant part of the evangelical identity that many people feel compelled to choose one or the other. Many of my most talented former students no longer attend any church, and some have completely abandoned their faith traditions."

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Acceptance of Evolution by State," Subnormal Numbers., 2010-APR-13, at: http://subnormalnumbers.blogspot.ca/
  2. "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey," Pew Research, 2008-FEB-25, at: http://www.pewforum.org/
  3. News item in ReligionToday for 1999-DEC-29. They quoted the Conservative News Service. Original source of data was not specified.
  4. "Level of support for evolution," Wikipedia, as on 2014-JAN-29, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  5. Michael Le Page, "Evolution myths: It doesn't matter if people don't grasp evolution," New Scientist, 2008-APR-19, Issue 2652. Preview at: http://www.newscientist.com/
  6. "Angus Reid Strategies," Angus Reid, 2007, at: http://www.angusreidglobal.com/
  7. Doug Matcsonis, "Texas May Block Biology Textbook Because Of Evolution," Outside the Beltway, 2013-NOV-24, at: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/
  8. "Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design," Gallup, 2014-FEB-03, at: http://www.gallup.com/
  9. "Six reasons young Christians leave church," Barna Group, 2011-SEP-28, at: https://www.barna.org/
  10. book cover image David Kinnaman, "You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church...and Rethinking Faith," Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store Available in Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover and Audiobook CD formats.

  11. book cover image David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons, "unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity...and Why It Matters," Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store Available in Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover and Audiobook CD formats.

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-JUN-04
Author: B.A. Robinson
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